A Droid Premiere – Solomon Kane (2010)

A Droid Premiere

The past year or so has seen a few films given the ol’ screwjy by distributors and the so called “film community”. Outlander was overlooked. Centurion got hard done by. And Solomon Kane lasted in UK cinemas for a grand total of one week. One fucking week! Oh, sure. That’s understandable. Joe Public is dumbshit enough to demand fifteen screens of ‘Alice in Wonderland’, why spare one for a decent film? Honestly, someone needs to take Joe out the back and put him out of my misery.

Solomon Kane Poster Solomon Kane (James Purefoy) is a murdering, greedy sinner. After a scuffle with his scumbag older brother turns tragic, Solomon, the second heir to a well to do family, flees and devotes his life to greedily conquering and pilfering foreign lands. But when he escapes with his life after encountering the devils reaper intent on claiming his soul, he wisely changes his tune and becomes a man of peace. After finding sanctuary in a monastery, he is banished without (seeming) reason. Soon after, Solomon encounters the old adage “the sins of the father are visited on the son”, while laying waste to man and sorcerer alike.

Solomon Kane 2

My blade is hotter than yours! Medieval penis measuring.

This is a cracking film. It barrels along at pace, and is committed to an atmosphere and “vision” that never falters. The films opening sets the scene, with Solomon nonchalantly committing bloody murder to all in his path, only to encounter a being more than his match. Fleeing as a recluse to a monastery, and as a man of peace, he quickly gets shunted out. The story must continue of course. While travelling to who knows where, he meets William Crowthorn (Pete Postlethwaite) and family, including jailbait daughter Meredith (Rachel Hurd-Wood). I won’t delve too much in to the plot, but needless to say, to save his soul he must rescue the fair maiden.

James Purefoy as Solomon, is suitably heroic, stoic, yet conflicted. Classic hero stuff. After his encounter in the opening scenes, he’s on the straight and narrow. But he has encountered true evil, and his new found sense of right and wrong steers him in the right direction. He will gladly accept his punishment for a life of sin if he can keep his promise.

Solomon Kane 3

Are you serious? You don’t know who Keyser Soze is?

Purefoy does a good job of handling what is a pretty stereotypical character, but keeping him interesting, in a dark, brooding kind of way. The invaluable Pete Postlethwaite adds class and believability to the film during the first section. He’s such an overlooked actor, grounding a fantastic film in a cloak of believability. And the likes of the seemingly immortal Max Von Sydow, Mackenzie Crook and Jason Flemyng show up to add some class to proceedings. One question. What’s with Flemyng always being heavily doused in heavy make-up?

Based on the pulp magazine by Robert E. Howard, Solomon Kane was finally adapted for the screen, written and directed by Michael J. Bassett. Bassett certainly has an eye for the epic, and has taken a semi-modest budget and made an impressive film. Solomon Kane looks great, with it’s rain drenched villages, period setting and devilish beasties always convincing. While the script isn’t exactly what you’d call Shakespeare (such a cliché, I know), it’s perfectly suitable to the story at hand.

Solomon Kane 4

The film really does look fantastic.

As I’ve said, the film, shot by Dan Laustsen, looks great. There’s an epic feel to it, and the rain soaked vistas of Britain (actually shot in the Czech Republic) are terrific. This would be a brilliant double feature with the similarly themed (and overlooked) ‘Centurion’.

There’s a lot of Catholic imagery in this film, and to be quite honest, I found it a little bit distracting from the central story. Of course, the story features our hero on a quest to save his soul, but some of the imagery is a little bit much. But ultimately it doesn’t effect the enjoyment of the film.

Solomon Kane 7

The Passion of Solomon Kane

I would like, at this point, to inform you that at one time Solomon Kane was to be produced by old mate Don Murphy: Hollywood Bigshot. Alas it was not to be as he let the property slip through his greasy burrito stained fingers. And let us all let out a collective sigh of relief for that. Sometimes the stars do align, and a bloated, cretinous colostomy bag doesn’t leech his infectious lack of talent on the worthy.

Wrapping up, Solomon Kane is a terrific entertainment, and one that has, once again, been absolutely fucked in the ass on release. I encourage you to seek it out, order a pizza, grab a few beers (or whatever your tipple) and put the feet up. You won’t be sorry.

Solomon Kane 5

Special Guest Star: Jarv!

Since I am bound to journalistic integrity, I will stipulate for the record that for this film and this review my tipple was a substantial portion of Johnny Walker Green Label chased with Becks. Yum.


3-changs-out-of-4 Droid

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About Judge Droid

In between refining my procrastination skills I talk a lot of shit about movies and such.

59 responses to “A Droid Premiere – Solomon Kane (2010)”

  1. xiphos0311 says :

    The went the conflicted route, eh? fucking cocksuckers couldn’t have have made him a pure black and white like in the stories, or at the very least a grey figure? christ on crutch way to miss the point of the character. That back story they made up isn’t that pleasant sounding either but i can live with it.

    Hollywood please for the love of buddha STOP working out your personal issues in movies that it isn’t needed in.

    There should be tons of religious symbols in Solomon Kane of all sorts that’s the point. Kane is a grim, single minded Puritan that kills anything and anybody (occasionally) that doesn’t match his strict and militant interpretation of the King James bible.

    • Droid says :

      I should have prefixed the review with the fact that I know nought of the original character as written. But as a layman it was immensely enjoyable.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        I’m sick and tired of them having to “explain” the characters motivations and in some way to make excuses for the characters actions and choices. Kane was an uptight, one dimensional killing machine that’s it and what’s so bad about that? Kane unambiguous embracing of fundamentalism leads to some funny moments of unintentional, or maybe intentional, levity to lighten the oppressive mood.

        Really it can be argued if anything Solomon Kane is insane but not a drooling idiot and lethal in the extreme.

    • Al Harron says :

      I should point out that Kane IS a conflicted character, and it’s central to many stories: he’s a Puritan who sometimes has to use black magic in order to combat black magic. This conflict between his Puritan ideals and his pragmatism is most relevant in “Red Shadows,” “The Hills of the Dead” and others.

      “Kane is a grim, single minded Puritan that kills anything and anybody (occasionally) that doesn’t match his strict and militant interpretation of the King James bible.”

      If that were true, wouldn’t he kill N’Longa on their first meeting? Kane is a Puritan, but he isn’t a dogmatic, myopic fool. The only people he kills are murderers, rapists, pirates and sorcerers. He doesn’t bother with anything else, because he has bigger fish to fry.

  2. xiphos0311 says :

    Obligatory plug for James Purefoy in Rome (and for Rome itself) His portrayal of Marc Anthony was sublime.

  3. Tom_Bando says :

    It sounds-OKAY! and in a good Okay! I will check this out sometime should I get a chance to.

    I remember the comics-this guy was a pretty tough SOB. Now if they could only get Solomon GRUNDY into the mix w/ Kane, we’d be all set….

  4. Continentalop says :

    I think I liked this better when it was called Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter.

    Actually it sounds good except for what Xi says – this isn’t REH’s Solomon Kane. I wish they did call it Captain Kronos and not use a character in name only.

    • xiphos0311 says :

      The movie itself sounds like it is fun my rant was more directed at Hollywoods desire to update and modernize and make relevant characters that don’t need it.

      A character can’t be a bad ass for the sake of being a bad ass? No is apparently the answer. To the girly men in HW in order to be a bad ass you have to have daddy issues and Chuckles the clown touched you in your naughty bits.

      I know I’ll never get an accurate REH story and I don’t even mind changes if they make sense. It’s just that I don’t understand the concept of buying a property then making wholesale and unneeded changes to the character. What’s the point in that? go write something fresh

      Also I’m in a bad a mood so that’s not helping..

      • Tom_Bando says :

        They left out the Hyborean Robot lions too Xiphos. Terrible oversight. Just terrible.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        the Hyborean robot lions are the toughest so I’ve heard.

      • Continentalop says :

        I hear you Xi. It actually has long been a complaint of mine as well, this need to get all Freudian and rationalize why someone acts the way he does. A lot of people like to think that is being more intelligent and sophisticated to expand on a back story and people’s personal lives, but really it is much more childish.

        Case in point – which character is the more sophisticated and adult character: Batman from BB & TDK, who they go into depths explaining his motivations, his relationships and all his feelings; or Popeye Doyle from the French Connection, someone without a family or personal life whose spends very little time navel gazing and his entire existence is dedicated to being a cop and making a big bust? In fact Popeye’s lack of any sort of true social life speaks volumes about his character, where in BB or TDK they actual have to have him speak volumes to make the same point about his dedication to his cause.

      • Jarv says :

        I seem to remember ranting on this very subject recently. Can you imagine the “new” snake plissken with fucking daddy issues etc.

        Sometimes I just want to see a man in white hat kill men in black hats. It doesn’t have to be complicated

      • Continentalop says :

        You know, I don’t even think it has to do with “wussifying” tough guys. I think it has to do with this belief that everyone needs an origin story. That it somehow creates depth and motivation.

        Look, you only need an origin story if the character is so far out the ordinary in his own universe. Otherwise it robs the character of his mystique.

        Batman needs an origin because a guy dressing up as a bat is so outlandish you need a rational. So does the Lone Ranger and Superman and Tarzan (I mean, it isn’t everyday a man is raised by apes). James Bond, Popeye Doyle, Philip Marlowe, The Man With No Name, Snake Plissken and even Sherlock Holmes don’t need origin stories – they might be extraordinary people, but they are not so outlandish that it is impossible to suspend disbelief to their existence within the story.

        Same with Han Solo – sure he lives in an outlandish universe, but he is just a smuggler within that universe. You don’t need much of a back story for him other than “he is a smuggler”. And the less said about giving Bobba Fett a backstory and an origin the better.

      • Tom_Bando says :

        Or if you like—Sixties Stan Lee Hulk-Big, Green, Banner got in the way of a Gamma Bomb blast, gets mad, breaks things, Sez Hulk Smash. That’s it, really. Oh and he wears purple pants. That’s all you needed to know.

        Surrender Hulk/Slave Labour Hulk–wayyyyyyy too much back story. Peter David Hulk. Egads.

  5. Tom_Bando says :

    Conti Pops I suppose I should use the Google and find out just what you mean by that-Captain Kronos? Izzat one of Adam Strange’s pals?

  6. Tom_Bando says :

    Oh okay I did the wikipedia lookup. Got it! No jetpack or Rann need apply.

    • Continentalop says :

      I know they are not all in the same comic universe, but I like to think Adam Strange, Dr. Strange & Prof. Hugo Strange are all related.

  7. Jarv says :

    You know, I wouldn’t mind if I did remotely look like that unfunny Mackenzie Crook cunt.

    Mind you, having said that, I met him in the pub a few weeks ago and he’s a surprisingly nice bloke.

    So maybe I shouldn’t be too ungrateful especially when we have Droid on record looking like this:

  8. Jarv says :

    Is this the film that got buried back in Feb that I meant to see and missed completely? I like Purefoy as well.

      • Jarv says :

        Son of a bitch.

        I keep seeing buses with Street Dance 3D on the side of it (I expect a Droid premiere soon). How the fuck come something that I would like to see gets nothing in the way of promotion and some shite that I don’t give a monkey’s about is all over the place?

        It’s as if you have to be a 13 year old girl to go to the cinema nowadays.

  9. Droid says :

    Maybe I was unclear in the review (I was a bit pissed when I wrote it), but there really isn’t a great deal of “daddy issues” in the film. Its more about redemption from what happened with his brother and the things that stemmed from that.

    Kane is a badass. When he becomes a man of peace he’s fighting his natural badass tendencies in a bid to save his soul. Needless to say he doesn’t stay a man of peace very long.

    • Continentalop says :

      But that is the problem for us die hard Kane fans. This film sounds very “Catholic” as he is trying to find redemption; Solomon Kane is a die hard puritan. He isn’t looking for redemption because he doesn’t have anything to redeem.

      In the modern world he probably would have been an Ayn Rand fan and an objectivist.

      • koutchboom says :

        Hey Conti, Taxi Driver Discussion in the Rec Room.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        There is no way Kane would be an Objectivist. If anything he would join one of those proselytizing apocalyptic Protestant cults and even then he would probably be on his own helping to jump start the end of days away from the main bunch of looney tunes.

    • Jarv says :

      Ann Rand is a cunt.

      • Continentalop says :

        Oh I agree Jarv. But just because Solomon Kane is a protagonist doesn’t mean I agree with his world view.

  10. koutchboom says :

    Sweet glad you liked this I can’t wait to see it….if that ever happens?

  11. koutchboom says :

    Whats funny about Alice in Wonderland having so many screens, is that for a minute the British Empire almost had a set of balls and 2 of the 3 majors film chains there were not going to put Alice In Wonderland in theaters because of the DVD release date being too close to the theatrical date. BUT they quickly relinquished to the mighty sac that is fucking Disney and gave in.

    But really, have you met anyone that has actually seen that film? I haven’t? It must’ve been terrible, people are too embarrassed to admit that they got sucked in. OH well, its on DVD in like a week or two.

  12. ThereWolf says :

    I saw the Solomon Kane trailer some time ago and thought it looked okay.

    I don’t think it even managed a week near me.

  13. DocPazuzu says :

    Y’know, based on the look of this film alone I found myself cautiously optimistic. But when they insist on “explaining” Kane as a character the REH fan in me immediately goes to DEFCON 4. Why the fuck do they keep doing this shit? I read a recent interview with one of the criminals behind the new Conan flick and he was whining that writing Conan “is a bitch” because the the character “has no arc”. These cockbags are basically served a license to print money and still can’t smell it two inches from their coke-eroded nostrils. The mind boggles.

    • Jarv says :

      That’s a very silly thing to say. From what I’ve read, Conan starts as a barbarian, is a pirate for a bit before being a king and being involved in innumerable wars.

      That looks suspiciously like a character arc to me, but what the fuck do I know?

      • DocPazuzu says :

        Not untrue, of course, but Howard’s point was that no matter what Conan went through, he could never be anything but a barbarian, although he was tempered in part by his experiences.

        Hollywood asshats, on the other hand, want him to go through some sort of touchy-feely “emotional growth” onscreen. Fuck dat.

      • Jarv says :

        I’d argue otherwise. One of the later stories, which I forget, has him ask for as part of the peace settlement, the transfer of a slave girl to him from misery. Early Conan didn’t give a toss.

        What they want to do is artificially jam in a few crying scenes. Maybe his favourite horse can die?

      • DocPazuzu says :

        Well, it’s a slave girl he’s taken a fancy to.

      • Jarv says :

        No it isn’t. It’s a slave girl who saved his ass and was facing execution.

        Gratitude and Mercy. The fact that he wants to fuck her is incidental, because, let’s face it, King Conan isn’t lacking in poon.

      • DocPazuzu says :

        I would describe it as the same sense of loyalty he was brought up with in Cimmeria. He didn’t learn that in the so-called civilized Hyborian nations.

      • Jarv says :

        Aye, suppose so.

        Provided he doesn’t do any crying.

      • DocPazuzu says :

        I would like to take this opportunity to say that I actually hate myself for engaging in this discussion because it makes me sound like a certain Portuguese chevrophile.

      • Jarv says :

        Not at all. To begin with, there’s no sweeping generalisations and you understand what you’re talking about.

        Secondly, syntax isn’t being destroyed.

        Thirdly, I haven’t wanted to punch my PC yet.

      • Continentalop says :

        Conan starts as a barbarian, is a pirate for a bit before being a king and being involved in innumerable wars.

        That looks suspiciously like a character arc to me, but what the fuck do I know?

        No, that is a bunch of jobs he has held down. Sure he has risen in status, but it doesn’t mean his character has changed. A thug from the streets who because a major crime boss can still act and think like a thug from the streets.

        But I think your second example with the slave girl is a better example of how Conan HAS changed over the years. He hasn’t gone through a classic educational arc, where he has learned his lesson about life – he is just older and maturer.

        REH wrote Conan stories at different periods of his life, and not in order (so know way does he know how Conan is going to “grow”), so he wrote Conan with different outlooks depending on his age and how much he has interacted with society. In some Conan stories he is just young and knew to the civilized lands, in other ones he is older and has experienced civilization a lot. But he is always a barbarian in heart, no matter how much civilization he has experienced, even in the late stages when he is a king (“You much stay alive as befitting your royal blood.” “I have no Royal Blood. I am the son of a blacksmith and a Cimmerian.”).

        And going back to the slave girl he rescues, that is Conan living by his barbarian code. He repays all favors and slights. In many stories Conan goes to great lengths to rescue or save women that are under his protection, because that is the code of a barbarian. This even extends to men – in Rogues of the House, Murilo arranges for Conan to escape in exchange for killing the Red Priest. But when the jailer that Murilo has paid of is arrested, Conan escapes on his own and still goes to fulfill his part of the deal, because Conan felt obligated towards the man.

        So in short, Conan’s inner character really hasn’t changed that much over his long life.

      • Continentalop says :

        “Rogues IN the House” not “Rogues of the House.”

    • Tom_Bando says :

      PaZooz-nope, you’re not Crank Capra there not by a long shot. Reasons are manifold:

      *No kneejerk slams of ‘Jar Jar Trek’ anywheres. Ask about Conan-Jar Jar Trek! Sestak beating Specter? Jar Jar Trek! Red Sox beating Tampa? Jar Jar Trek! etc.

      *No raving defense of Aliens Vs Predators(and subsequent denial of same).

      *No Almada Leper Gang T-Shirt banner ads.

      *MrGeyser isn’t arguing w/ you all thru the Talkback(as he should) and trying to ingest some reason into things.

      *Xiphos hasn’t nuked screen.

      • DocPazuzu says :

        “Crank Capra”

        Thanks, Bando. Feel free to collect your Burt Lancaster/Nick Cravat DVD of choice at the concession stand.

  14. DocPazuzu says :

    That should be “a bitch to write”

  15. Hawaiian Organ Donor says :

    I started watching this last night but passed out 10 minutes in. That had nothing to do with the movie. I was just exhausted after a full day of manual labor in the hot sun. But from what I saw, the effects and sets were ace. Starts with a bang.

    Did manage to see The Losers, The Wolfman, Harry Brown and The Book of Eli over the weekend. Enjoyed all of them but Harry Brown is top notch. Solid movie and there isn’t a cunt here who wouldn’t love it.

  16. just pillow talk says :

    This sounds pretty sweet to me, though I realize where the fans of the stories are coming from.

    So The Wolfman and The Book of Eli were entertaining?

    I was looking forward to Harry Brown, good to hear it’s solid.

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